The protests against the lectures of Amina Wadud are most unfortunate (“This veil over their minds,” Aug.14). Islam, like any other religion of the world, stood its ground even 1,434 years after its birth, despite the existence of munafiqeen (hypocrites) and people who held different opinions. Islam, the religion of peace and brotherhood, had always tolerated opposition, dissenting voices and marched ahead without looking back. Prophet Muhammad tolerated freedom of speech within the parameters of decency and discipline, and never punished anyone. Self-control, tolerance, a charitable mentality, brotherhood, peaceful coexistence and sharing others’ joys and sorrows are the hallmark of a Muslim. All in the community must unite to strengthen the nation.

M.Y. Shariff,

Chennai

No one can disagree with the views of the writer when he says, “… the Muslim leadership should be to team up with our Hindu brethren and save the country from falling into the hands of anti-democratic forces. All else can wait.” But no one can agree with his observation, “Unite the Hindus and divide the Muslims is bandied about brazenly.” It is politicians who divide Hindus and consolidate Muslims in order to get votes, but not with an intention to strengthen the roots of democracy. For politicians, each community is a vote bank. Hence it is the responsibility of Hindus and Muslims to discover leaders, who can bridge the gaps and inspire them. This is not possible through politics and democracy. These steps should come from religious leaders, who are rooted in spirituality and show the path of truth. The salt of this country is spirituality and solutions for conflicts between groups of people can be found only through spiritual enlightenment.

S.A. Srinivasa Sarma,

Hyderabad

The article clearly states that no Muslim is restrained to speak out and holds a different opinion. Islam allows its followers to express their differences but no one has the right to blame Allah, Prophet Muhammad and the basic tenets of Islam.

K.C. Iqbal Vavad,

Kozhikode

The Muslim community must consider the advice in the article as the writer has analysed the spiritual aspects of the Koran and its misinterpretation by a section of fundamentalists creating confusion in many minds. The need of hour is strengthen the bonds among different religions, cultures and languages.

J.P. Reddy,

Nalgonda

Religious books can always be interpreted to suit one’s agenda. Instead of interpreting historical texts, what moderate Muslims like Mr. Faizur Rahman should do is to impart lessons on democratic values, human rights and freedom of speech and religion in masjids and to students in madrassas. They should also lead campaigns against blasphemy laws in Islamic states where expressing even the slightest doubt about the Koran and Islam carries harsh punishment. Unless such concrete steps are taken, there can be no religious reformation and articles like those of Mr. Rahman’s will be perceived as mere face-saving exercises by religious apologetics.

G.K. Shah,

Hyderabad

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